Understanding the Building Blocks of Brand Loyalty

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Recognizing the behaviors that impact customer loyalty allows brands to develop stronger targeting methods, boosting trust and retention in an effort to drive profitability.

Loyalty is no longer a lifetime promise. With numerous options and economic factors impacting everyday decisions, today's consumers are often pulled in multiple directions, rarely staying loyal to a single brand. Yet, while true loyalty seems increasingly difficult to attain, many elements influence the consumer's decision to trust and do business with particular companies.

For certain brands, loyalty remains strong. According to ClickFox's "2013 Brand Loyalty Survey," Apple leads in customer loyalty for the second year in a row, with 28 percent of respondents claiming they can't live without the brand, while Starbucks, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon round out the top five most valued brands. This second brand loyalty survey, which polled 304 consumers, examines what drives and deters brand loyalty, including the industries to which customers are the most loyal. The study reveals that poor customer service (48 percent) and brand quality (35 percent) have the greatest impact on loyalty because service teams often have inaccurate or incomplete consumer experience data, triggering much frustration and discontent.

The following statistics explore what characteristics influence loyalty and how companies can hone their current tactics to expand loyalty even further:

  • Food and beverage (55 percent), airlines (42 percent), cell phone manufacturers (37 percent), retail stores (36 percent), hotel chains (36 percent), and automakers (34 percent) are the brand categories to which consumers are most loyal.
  • According to those polled, cable and Internet providers (64 percent), wireless providers (45 percent), insurance providers (39 percent), banking and credit card services (38 percent), and airlines (30 percent) fail to foster brand loyalty.
  • Twenty-three percent of respondents revealed that they can only remain loyal to three brands they engage with on a daily basis, with first impressions often acting as the deciding moment in establishing brand loyalty (56 percent).
  • Consumers strongly dislike unsolicited outreach from brand agents, identifying in-store representatives (29 percent) and phone agents (36 percent) as their lowest preference for learning more about products. Sixty-six percent of consumers do not want to be contacted over the phone about special offers, information, and upgrades, while nearly 75 percent of those polled would prefer to be contacted via email and text messages.
  • When it comes to discovering new products, 45 percent of consumers prefer to find information, upgrades, and help with products via email and text messages, and 41 percent prefer websites, chats, and online advertising resources.
  • Overall, 35 percent of consumers believe loyalty programs are trivial when establishing brand preferences. Benefits typically drive brand loyalty, with consumers identifying brand quality (60 percent), ease of use (46 percent), and features (40 percent) as crucial factors when choosing their favorite brands.

Key takeaway: As consumers mature, their loyalties often shift. For instance, loyalty to cell phone manufacturers peaks among younger consumers ages 21 and under, while consumers ages 35 to 64 tend to focus their loyalty on banking and credit card companies. However, as the economy continues to alter consumer behavior, 57 percent of those polled are now more focused on price when switching and selecting brands than any other factor. Brands must observe and acknowledge these trends, adjusting their targeting methods accordingly in order to engender the greatest level of loyalty possible. Developing an understanding of how customers behave and interact will inevitably boost trust, profitability, acquisition, and retention, as well.